In an interview with the BBC given a shortly before today’s commencement of the official Brexit negotiations, Prince Andrew has sent a message to British business: “The world is your oyster”.
In a highly unusual move, The Duke of York shared his own views on what is probably the most contentious subject in current British politics – Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. It is rare for members of the Royal Family to reveal their thoughts on any political subject, and Prince Andrew is the first to speak publicly on the matter.
Interviewed in Singapore by Sharanjit Leyl from the BBC, as the Duke was attending a Commonwealth science conference, he said that firms were cautious about Brexit, but that the UK “should be engaging with as many different markets as we possibly can and looking at the best of things rather than necessarily the worst of things.”
It should perhaps not be a surprise that the Prince has spoken on this subject, from 2001 until 2011 he had an official role as a trade envoy for the UK, with a particular remit to promote UK business interests abroad. He might therefore be best placed member of the Royal Family to comment on the matter of Brexit, a matter that will have long reaching consequences for not just UK business, but for those it trades with across the globe.
Andrew, 57, went on to say, “You can either look at it as a glass half empty – which is: “Oh my God, why have we done this?”
“Or you could look at it as glass half full, which is: “OK, that’s where we are. There are opportunities that we’ve got to make. So…you may lose one thing but you may gain something else.”
Clearly keen to promote further ties within the Commonwealth – a reason Canada, Australia and New Zealand appeared to support Brexit – the Duke added: “There are opportunities in the 52 Commonwealth nations, as well as China and the US.”
“There’s an external market that’s a lot bigger, and many businesses hadn’t looked over that garden fence to some extent.And actually getting over that garden fence, there might be some fresh grass out there.”
During the reign of The Queen, the Commonwealth has expanded from 7 to 52 member nations, and it is known how seriously she takes her role as its Head.
Whilst in Singapore, the Prince, was also hosting Pitch@Palace, a program to support entrepreneurs from the UK and around the world.
Although no longer an official envoy for the UK government, The Queen’s second son is still clearly very keen to use his position to help British businesses prosper both at home and overseas.